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The role of mirror neurons in addiction: a cross linguistic study in Iran and Brazil

Abstract

Mirror neurons are considered as a mechanism which helps us understand the meaning and intention of a communicative signal. Therefore, they get activated by observing others' actions. One of the significance of these neurons lies in the relationship that they establish between sounds and their corresponding meaning. Once this correspondence is established, they can serve a base to form the words. The word formation could be built in the contexts and produce a rich communication. In addition, the mirror neurons also allow people to adopt another person's point of view and interpret the person's intentions. Therefore, it is believed that mirror neuron could solve the airtight dichotomy between "self" and "others". From another perspective, it seems that an addicted person who is dealing with recovery fears to acknowledge part of his/her history. Some believe that this fear/shame is related to mirror neurons. Considering the fact that these neurons in the visual and auditory system could work differently, therefore, in this research, the relationship of the mirror neurons to verbal stimuli are investigated. In other words, the reaction of these neurons to language conditioning will be studied. The final findings can be used for intervention purposes. In this study, alcoholics, serene alcoholics and non-consumers will be recruited and their brain responses to a linguistic task (visual, oral and aural) are measured using EEG and fMRI. Since, emotion plays a key role on consumption in the addicted people, therefore, it will also be taken into account to better understand the role of the mirror neurons in addiction. Comparing results of addicted individuals with a healthy control group and confirming the results in Iran and Brazil could open a new horizon to intervention of addicted people. Moreover, biophysical mechanisms underlying putative mirror neuron dysfunctions are also investigated in alcoholic individuals and using the computational modeling approaches we will try to find a realistic model. We expect that this model helps the researchers to find new targets for pharmacological interventions. By doing anatomical, electrophysiological, and related receptor polymorphism experiments, we will be able to have an ideal brain mapping for our study. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FRIEDHOFF, VICTOR NICOLAI; ANTUNES, GABRIELA; FALCKE, MARTIN; SIMOES DE SOUZA, FABIO M.. tochastic reaction-diffusion modeling of calcium dynamics in 3D dendritic spines of Purkinje cell. BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, v. 120, n. 11, p. 2112-2123, . (11/50151-0, 18/06504-4, 15/50122-0)
ANTUNES, GABRIELA; SIMOES DE SOUZA, FABIO M.. 3D Modeling of Dendritic Spines with Synaptic Plasticity. JOVE-JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, n. 159, . (16/18825-4, 18/06504-4, 15/50122-0)

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